A community support success story.

Inspired by momentous community interest in the health of Guana Lake and River, the Friends of the GTM Reserve’s members partnered with the Audubon Society to fund an initial year of water quality sampling and subsequent laboratory analyses starting in July 2017. Monthly sampling, a collaboration between the Reserve and the Northeast Aquatic Preserves (NEAP), occurred during high outgoing tides at five locations: Micklers, Lake Middle, Lake South, River North, and Guana River.

Guana Nutrient Run

Year one results

The first year of sampling revealed some concerning water quality conditions, especially with regard to nutrients and algal biomass (chlorophyll a). Based on Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FLDEP) water quality criteria, samples in both Guana Lake and Guana River have shown apparent exceedances of algal biomass. Samples collected in Guana River reflected total nitrogen exceedances.

Next steps

The GTM Research Reserve, NEAP, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and FLDEP’s Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration (DEAR) have committed to continued, extended water quality sampling. Starting in July, the DEAR laboratory is analyzing samples five times a year and has agreed to support five additional sampling sites in Guana Lake and Guana River. FWC has also provided funding for additional water quality and bacteria source tracking analyses as well as use of an airboat for sampling on the lake. FLDEP requires at least three years of data before formally re-assessing the water quality status. Funding for 2019-2020 is to be determined.

Dollars at work

Thanks to the generosity of the Friends, GTM is collecting real data about the health of Guana Lake and Guana River. Moving forward, the Friends wish to replicate the success of the Guana Water Quality Project in Pellicer Creek, the border between St. Johns and Flagler counties. Contributions from corporate partners help fund projects like this, and are making a difference.